Wednesday 1 April 2020

Viral Open Thread

New gone viral Open Thread for all your comments on the BBC's bias and other relevant matters.



    One advantage of the Coronavirus Crisis has been that no one gives a flying f about Harry and Meghan and their attention seeking any more - apart from the Pres that is...

  2. >>>PLAGUE WATCH<<<

    I haven't heard any presenter in the MSM tell us that the daily death toll went DOWN today in the to be good news, but good news is not the order of the day. If it had gone up, it would have "leapt", "jumped" or "increased yet further".

    Not sure why they have these press conferences...they don't even attempt to answer the questions. Simon Israel (C4)asked about claims from a London hospital that their CV deaths were being under-reported by the Government. Of course it would be useful for government to be able to "bank" some deaths, so as to be able to engineer dramatic rises every few days...I don't know that's happening of course, but that has got to be a possibility. Of course Simon Israel's question wasn't answered, so we are none the wiser.

    Tony Blair out and about today...not everyone's cup of tea I know but I have always said he is a brilliant communicator. He was putting his skills to good use today making the case for a huge expansion in testing to take in the general population and allow people to resume normal life. He's right. Given the state of play that is the only route back to normality and that is the path our country has to take.

    After ensuring we can care for the sick, the expansion of testing facilities has got to be top priority.

    The messaging from the Government team is again confusing. Dr Jenny Harries offers no hope at all of a return to normality within any reasonable timeframe. Who does she think pays her salary? It doesn't drop out of the sky. We need our economy to support our lives.

    We need to return to normality. As Blair says, mass testing is the clear path back to normal functioning of society.

    So make this the priority, not tightening a pointless mass lockdown.

  3. Jon wants to have Andrew's babies...

    In my view Cuomo is one of the most boring bast**ds I've ever seen in public office. He just goes on and on, taking you through his painfully slow thought processes, step by slow, agonising step. At least Trump always makes me laugh, sometimes intentionally sometimes not.

  4. Mind manipulation:

    Victoria Derbyshire on BBC News referred to what we are experiencing as "a partial lockdown". Partial! That felt like a smack in the eye from someone who is very obviously not locked down because her work is so self evidently "essential" - wittering on TV.

    Partial! Police road blocks, no gyms, schools, cinemas, football stadia open. Many parks closed. Only a few shops open - mostly food and pharmacies. Queuing to get into shops. No weddings, no visiting relatives. Only allowed out by law for food and medicine shopping and one period of exercise.

    And we are told (not that I believe it) it could go on for six months.

    So "partial"? No, "total" is the word you're looking for, love.

  5. The following is an extract from an article in The Hill in which Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist Michael Levitt rubbishes the absurd predictions of our Alarmist-in-Chief, Prof Neil Ferguson, the man who appears to have single-handedly collapsed the world economy:

    In an article in the Los Angeles Times, Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist Michael Levitt throws a hope-inducing bucket of cold water on the nonstop alarmism being repeated by some in the media and in public office. Levitt says unnecessary panic has been created by focusing on the relentless increase in the cumulative number of cases and spotlighting celebrities who contract the virus. “What we need is to control the panic,” he writes. “We’re going to be fine.”

    Levitt studied the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide in January and correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its outbreak long before many health experts predicted it would. He now predicts a similar outcome for the United States and the rest of the world.

    As we are reminded constantly by some media, many health experts predict that months or even more than a year of social distancing will be necessary and that the virus will cause millions of deaths. Levitt, on the other hand, states that his data do not support that doom-and-gloom outcome — just the opposite, in fact.

    Months ago, before the pandemic sky fell around us, many people rightfully doubted or scoffed at computer models that predicted, say, where a hurricane would make landfall or who was guaranteed to win a presidential election. The people of Florida and the supporters of Hillary Clinton might happily tell the experts behind those predictions what they should do with their computer models.

    It was a world-is-ending projection two weeks ago of as many as 500,000 dead in the United Kingdom and as many as 2.2 million dead in the United States, offered up by professor Neil Ferguson and his team at Imperial College London, that fired up the media’s panic machine. However, overlooked in the hyper-reaction was that this was an unlikely worst-case scenario based on nothing being done to stop the virus’s spread. And Ferguson (who reportedly contracted the virus himself) subsequently cut the projected number of British deaths in half as the government there ramped up its response — and has since drastically scaled it back yet again, to fewer than 20,000 deaths in Britain. As the National Review correctly points out, “Models like this will always turn out to be wrong in some way or other, because they rely on very strong assumptions about aspects of the disease we haven’t thoroughly studied yet. If nothing else, the original Imperial model will be obsolete soon."

  6. Ferguson now says that the outbreak is "starting to slow"...but deaths will continue to rise...(from Mail Online)...

    The man's a genius!

    So, what we've had has been a phantom crisis. We had one hospital - Northwick Park - declare an emergency. The rest have been coping. Remember, it's quite normal for operations to be cancelled when we have sever flu outbreaks, so that in itself is nothing new.

    The virus has been a challenge to the health services, yes of course, but it was never a justification for destroying our economy, our liberty and our democracy - or indeed the rest of the health service: remember that effectively primary care has been suspended and normal hospital functioning has stopped (much more radically than for previous flu outbreaks).

    Now, of course, as in the joke about the elephant powder, they are now going to declare that the lockdown was a huge success and prevented mass slaughter. This despite the fact we have been told constantly by critics it came "too late" after "too little".

    Who to believe? Some researchers think half the population had been infected by mid March. I believe that's likely. Why? Because we are told that one person can infect over 50,000 others and because we know many people are asymptomatic or nearly so, thus would never consider they were ill. If say 2% are asymptomatic, then if 30 million are infected, that's 600,000 asymptomatics. Even if only 2 million have been infected, as others believe, that's still 40,000 asymptomatics who could have been spreading the disease around unknowingly in hospitals, pharmacies, shops, care homes, service stations, taxis, buses etc for at least 7 days at a time (I am a bit sceptical about it only being 7 days that people can spread the virus by the way).

    Any effect of the lockdown would be highly marginal in my view. You have to ask why the (even more severe) lockdown has not been having a similar miraculous effect in Italy. They seem to have gone from bad to worse.

    A study found that CV patients can still be infectious up to 37 days after showing symptoms:

    Also the incubation period can be longer than 7 days - some scientists think up to 14 days.

    So the government guidelines about 7 plus 7 are all nonsense in any case, as well as their advice about symptoms.

    1. A rival academic has claimed Prof Neil Ferguson has a patchy record of modelling epidemics, which could have led to hasty Ministerial decisions.

      During the Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001 Prof Ferguson and his Imperial colleagues concluded: ‘Extensive culling is sadly the only option for controlling the current British epidemic.’

      But Prof Thrusfield, an expert in animal diseases, claimed the model made incorrect assumptions about how foot and mouth disease was transmitted and, in a 2006 review, he claimed Imperial’s foot and mouth model was ‘not fit for purpose’, while in 2011 he said it was ‘severely flawed’.

      Professor Michael Thrusfield of Edinburgh University said Prof Ferguson was previously instrumental in modelling that led to the cull of more than 6 million animals during the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001, which left rural Britain economically devastated.

      Yesterday, Prof Thrusfield told The Daily Telegraph the episode was ‘a cautionary tale’ about the limits of mathematical modelling and he felt a sense of ‘déjà vu’ about the current situation.

    2. MB, you are going too far. The Canadian study of Chinese data showed that the median time to symptoms was 5.5 days, if I understand it correctly. There were still cases occurring up to 14 days after expose but they were much less likely. That would show that there are more at less than 7 days than after, so if you look at the infections after 7 days and they are going down then it might be a hint. However you also have to wait for the extra period of two days to five day (ISTR) before severe symptoms occur and another day for a test at hospital. so there is up to a fortnight's lag in the measurements so it is far to early to say anything conclusive. I would not criticise the model at this stage especially as the numbers published re far from giving a consistent set since the early testing numbers are on a different basis from the later ones.

    3. My point really was that if one person can infect 50,000, then the question of the infection period is important. Put that together with asymptomatic cases and I think it highly probable that the number of people infected in the country is already much higher than 2 million. Many people will be going down the shops with their coughs and their germy fingers, or they will be infecting co workers if they are still working (as millions are don't forget) or others on public transport.

      My view is that lockdowns are far less effective than claimed and also have their own dangers - insidious in many cases.

    4. it is NOT a lockdown if flights to Heathrow and gatwick continue to bring people in from all over the world and from highly infected countries eg from Madrid and Teheran and there is no mention that these people are being quarentined

  7. The West Midlands police and crime commissioner says language and culture barriers mean many aren’t hearing official guidance and that the Coronavirus message is not reaching sections of society.

    Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood said people in the area were struggling to adhere to government guidelines about physical distancing because of their religious beliefs.

  8. Well, then Khalid Mahmood should pull his thumb out and buy an Urdu loud hailer and tell people to struggle in their own back yards, like everybody else.

  9. So even the BBC are having to admit that there is a "glimmer of hope" and perhaps we are not near the "end of days", despite their fondest hopes:

    BBC Report: "DHSC have just announced a further 180 deaths of people in the UK diagnosed with coronavirus, bringing the total to 1,408.

    There is a glimmer of hope in these figures: had deaths continued to grow at that recent daily rate of roughly a third a day, we might have expected to see 350 new deaths on Sunday and 450 today.

    Instead, we’ve seen slight falls: 260 new deaths on Saturday, 209 on Sunday and a further fall to 180 today. But we shouldn’t get carried away too soon: last week’s Sunday-into-Monday figures also showed slight dips on the previous Saturday. But by Tuesday, they resumed the upward march.

    It’s still too soon to know whether this is a real ray of hope, a blip caused by different working practices at the weekend or some mixture of the two."

    It's amazing how a fall of 30% in two days is a "slight fall". Would it have been a "slight rise" if it were the other way round - of course not!

  10. Just spotted this job title on the Website:
    Marianna Spring, Disinformation and Social Media Reporter

    I suppose we will get more of this, along with BBC Trending and Reality Check and BBC Monitoring Disinformation Specialist Shayan Sardarizadeh. Great work if you can get it.

    1. Is this serious or a wind-up?

    2. Charlie- I presume that's disseminating disinformation, rather than reporting on it!

    3. It's genuine! Her tweet is funny, though, because the way she's written it, it sounds as if BBC is the source of Fake News:

      "Read more about a misleading post we traced back here:"

      Yes a misleading post we traced back to

      Meanwhile as the BBC points the finger at social media they are guilty of propagating absurd myths:

      1. That nationwide total lockdowns are proven to work and save lives. Tell that to South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Sweden and - indeed - China none of which had a nationwide total lockdown.

      2. That we are in a "partial" lockdown.

      3. That we are following exactly the same path as Italy.

      4. That everyone is happy with the lockdown.

      5. That no scientists with relevant expertise oppose lockdowns.

      6. That people are "dying of the Coronavirus", when it could equally be said they died of any of the other 12 pathogens in their lungs.

      7. That BBC journalists are carrying out essential work and that the 450 job cuts therefore needed to be postponed.

      8. That lockdowns don't cost lives as well as saving them.

      9. That there was no need for panic buying.

      10. That the BBC have been observing Government guidance on social distancing.

    4. Anon - It’s serious , it’s on the BBC website tonight. They are all real BBC jobs. Here’s a link to her twitter profile

      Sis - lol, if that’s the case, all the BBC reporters should have disinformation in their titles

    5. I thought it might be like one of those jokes that Craig pulls on us occasionally and catches some of us out.
      Yes, MB it suggests a designated reporter responsible for disinformation. That reminds me of the time the Labour government set up a Social Exclusion Unit. It always sounded just wrong to me. Could never understand why they didn't call it a Social Inclusion Unit.

    6. Marianna Spring retweets something with the following quote:

      “Investigative reporting is evidence-based journalism. It is not opinion. It is not advocacy. It is not fake news. Its only purpose is to find truth, and its only power is in bringing it to light.”

      Does that accord with what you know about the BBC? Does that sum up the way it approaches issues like mass migration, abortion, Islam, Tommy Robinson, feminism, the NHS, Viktor Orban, or the Murdoch press - to take a few examples?

  11. An observation watching CH4 news tonight. The frankly awful Siobhan Kennedy yet again formulating a story around demonising Trump simply works in the opposite way it's intended for those who are open minded to The Orange One.

    It's like listening to a colleague criticising another colleague - you know at the base of it is animus, so you learn to coach your reaction to take the animus into account.

    I know it's called Trump derangement syndrome, but it really is a problem for the media. It's currently just bitching and whining on the laziest level I've ever seen. He will win again because of people like Siobhan Kennedy, and she just can't see it.

    1. The Liberal-Left-Communist media in the USA has a problem now - they used to be able to censor Trump's appearances but because of the crisis they are pretty much having to let him appear live and unedited.

    2. Some of them have actually been boycotting the press briefings 'cos fake news.
      I mean, grow the F up. It's beyond pathetic.

  12. It turns out that Professor Neil Ferguson is a serial offender when it comes to estimating deaths.

    Not only did he predict 500,000 deaths from COVID-19. He also spread alarm by saying
    150,000 could die from BSE. Here’s that report from 2002

    He also was the lead modeller they led to 6 Million culled animals during Foot and Mouth in 2001.

    1. I have a feeling he probably started his career in December 1999 just in time to predict planes falling out of the sky owing to the Millennium Bug.

    2. Ferguson has been working with Microsoft to create a CV-focussed website with game developers...any consultant fees involved, one wonders...

    3. It sounds to me like Ferguson has done something stupid...he seems to have put a high figure on asymptomatic cases (which I agree with) - meaning the virus spreads quickly - but then assumed that the death rates reported from China and the cruise liners could be read across to mass infection from asymptomatic cases.

      However, I think it is far more likely that the infection rates were initially mostly among the young/younger and fit population who are out and about on the tube in London, in the pubs and clubs etc. and who, unlike in Italy, don't have a lot of interaction with the elderly.

      I think Ferguson has applied death rates from situations where the known cases are mostly of the elderly and vulnerable to a rapid infection of a large proportion of the population.

      Why the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Officer didn't challenge him...well, I'd like to know why. Nothing justifies his predictions of 500,000 if we do nothing and 100,000 deaths if we do a lot.

      The idea that a Government would do nothing in response to a pandemic is so absurd and otiose that it shouldn't really form part of a serious paper.

  13. Here is that dreaded pressure again on the BBC. Just who is applying that pressure? I don’t suppose the general public is calling for their release.
    Maybe it’s just that well known left of centre liberal pressure group - the BBC.

    ‘Pressure is being put on Justice Secretary Robert Buckland to allow convicted criminals to head home, in order to prevent more deaths in England and Wales' crowded prisons.’

    1. Where there's pressure you normally find "the Somes"..."Some say the Government has been tardy in reacting to the crisis in prisons"..."Some say Boris is a fat fool."


    BBC policy seems to be to support the curtailment of liberty in the UK and oppose it in Hungary. There must be a rationale...I just can't work out what it is! :)

    1. Just heard R4 Midnight News with a brief reference to Sumption's warning about UK becoming a police state but then a much longer piece worrying about Orban's new powers.

  15. Newsnight Watch
    Panel tonight has the usual BBC balance; Susan Michie Professor of Health Psychology UCL (multi-millionaire and ex wife of Andrew Murray, Corbynite right hand man), John Ashworth (Labour Shadow Health Sec.) and 1 other.
    Ms Michie (her twitter time line shows her affiliations) has not been off the BBC throughout the crisis; she is hardly likely to be a fan of anything the government does or does not do to fight Coronavirus.

    1. Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, President of The Doctors’ Association UK was the other one I think.

      The Doctors Association have been everywhere on the MSM - she in particular.

      Their main concerns seem to be that no Doctor should ever be blamed for their performance, that we should abandon our border controls, and that the NHS should suck in more money.

      Seems more of a trade association than an ideological organisation...but obviously tending to Labour and anti-Conservative.

  16. Newsnight Watch
    Have you noticed that on most nights The Guardian is always the first of the papers in any run through of tomorrow's papers. Moreover, The Guardian is always on the list of the papers reviewed while others, Times, Telegraph and the tabloids only appear intermittently.

    1. The Guardian sells 130,000 copies of the printed paper a day. Almost 100,000 of those are in a narrow belt of North London. That’s a fact not many know.

    2. The same narrow belt of North London where all the Newsnight journos live! :)

      THe BBC buys over 200 copies of the paper every day, so must at least cover the cost of cleaning Polly Toynbee's swimming pool.

  17. The BBC News channel yesterday brought news of an F1 initiated reverse engineering copy of a respirator device. It wasn't a ventilator, but it provided pressurised oxygen. Through open thread comments ITBBCB has followed coverage of these initiatives from G-Tech, Dyson and a small independent engineer. Why should the BBC concentrate upon this copied design? Well, F1 is a thinly veiled accolade of Mercedes - German engineering, the pride of EU federalism.

    1. To be fair, Arthur. This device is simpler, cheaper, and easier to operate than the top of the range ventilators that the NHS and their media whores have been demanding. In addition, where it can be used, there's no need for the patients to be sedated, which is an issue in itself. The more appropriate question should be why the NHS has been allowed to over-specify equipment that could and should have been a lot cheaper.

    2. I was involved with a medical wholesaler a few years ago, they told me that their biggest selling bandage was sold to Boots for £0.89, Whereas the NHS were happy to pay £1.55 and bought millions each year from them. The NHS just placed orders and never challenged the price but the all the retailer sales people hounded them for a better price every time they met. The wholesaler bought them for 50p from the manufacturer.

    3. I remember hearing that NHS hospital beds were leased as a PFI item and that the suppliers did very nicely out of it. Times that by 4000 at the dockland site and it becomes mind-boggling to imagine how much extra cash and future debt is being sunk into the NHS as a result of this virus outbreak.

    4. Add another 5000 beds at the NEC, and many more at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff and again in Glasgow; I can foresee a legacy of debt running well into the future.

    5. A few years ago, I drove a hospital consultant from out of town past Wakefield's new Pinderfields Hospital, which replaced an estblished hospital on the same site. He nodded his head in agreement when I told him that the price tag for the new hospital was about £450million, so I asked him to stop and think why the building had been so expensive. After all, the NHS already owned the land, and all the equipment needed to fill the building, so all the money had bought was some not very impressive masonry. God only knows what happened to all the equipment from the previous hospital (I guess it was probably donated to somewhere needy in the Third World?) but surely there really was no jutification for discarding the lot and buying an entirely new set on PFI terms?

  18. The BBC have a prominent story this morning where James Corden says he's been struggling with "incredible spikes of anxiety and sadness" during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Sky News have a prominent story this morning where Kate Winslet and gives tips on how to keep safe during the coronavirus pandemic because she starred in the film Contagion about a hypothetical virus outbreak.

    ffs, I thought reporting could get no worse but it just has. No one wants to hear from them except the MSM. If you’ve got nothing constructive to say.....

    1. the lack of any non-covid news has made all and any covid news permissible. BBC1 spent about 15 mins interviewing a family that wrote some pathetic song and then sung it on air via video link this morning. The song was some kind of whimsical affair lambasting life on lockdown britain.. oh how they all laughed!

      Anything covid now makes news. They have at least a couple of more months to "fill"

      This is why i am against 24 hr news broadcasting (hell, even 24hr broadcasting in general)

  19. The totalitarian mindset is creeping in.

    Reporter on news this morning (Sky or BBC, I forget which), notes that death toll in Northern Italy is still rising steeply...people dispirited that lockdown does not yet appear to be having a positive effect...but reporter states as fact rather than hope: "However, the lockdown MUST be working..."

    This is the kind of thinking that we've seen before:

    "We Germans are a superior race and therefore MUST win the war."

    "The Great Leap Forward is based on Marxist principles and therefore MUST be the correct path to follow."

    We should apply reason and logic not spout the party line.

    It seems to me that lockdowns should, if they really were effective, lead to a flattening curve in cases within 10 days because that would be about the average period when someone starts to show symptoms after being infected by another person who is infectious.

    So from Day 1 of a lockdown, while there might be a continuing steep rise in the first few days (reflecting pre-lockdown infection rates), that should top after day 10 and you should see a quick levelling off of the rise in number of cases.

    That has not been the experience in Italy. The first lockdowns began on 21 Feb in affected areas. A nationwide lockdown was declared on 9 March - 22 days ago. The number of cases has continued to rise at a fast rate. Spain's experience seems similar. Both countries have seen continuing steep rises in deaths.

    Clearly there is something seriously wrong with the theoretical maths used to justify lockdowns.

    I suspect that the lockdown and social isolation may be hastening the death of many elderly and some cancer patients who are being demoralised by the experience as they approach the end of life. They may well have the coronavirus or have been previously infected, but that doesn't mean they would necessarily have died had they still had their loving support network in place.

    I also suspect that, as everyone learns to make lots of trips to the shops, they are being exposed to the virus hundreds of times, on products, self-service tills, airborne viruses and so on virtually every day. So tens of millions of us are still being exposed to it.

    The lockdown cult is killing us.

    1. When I say "that doesn't mean they would necessarily have died had they still had their loving support network in place" I meant of course would not necessarily have died at this point - they might well have died a month later, or two months later, or in six months.

  20. **Fake news alert**
    The BBC headline reads :
    Coronavirus: UK mortgage market goes into lockdown

    I think this is a disingenuous headline. The mortgage market is not in lockdown. Lenders have withdrawn higher (75%) Loan to Value products to try to reduce capacity whilst they deal with staffing shortages and mortgage holiday requests.

    The BBC have excelled themselves during this crisis with sensationalist headlines, attacks, half-truths and negativity. We just can’t count on them to be responsible with their reporting. Perhaps they should get their disinformation reporter to check on some of their own headlines and stories.

    1. Sub-75% LTV is the preserve of mid-life and mid-class existing homeowners...

      Not the young, penniless and renting "real" youth of this country... i.e. the only audience which the BBC is desperate to appeal to!

    2. They had changed the headline and now added ‘partial’. Maybe someone at the BBC read this blog!

  21. More misinformation from the Lockdown Cult practitioners (the BBC):

    It's Fake News. Why? Because:

    1. Trump Derangement Syndrome is on display.

    2. They say "Let's compare the USA with other countries"...But they don't adjust for population. They don't discuss cases per million population or deaths per million population. The so called comparisons are therefore misleading.

    3. South Korea is praised for its testing but, deliberately, they avoid telling the viewer that there has not been a total lockdown in S Korea. If they did people would put two and two together and begin to question the efficacy of lockdowns. That would be unacceptable to the Lockdown Cult.

    4. China's figures are given without a health warning, even though we and the BBC know China lie about everything from hacking, to disease, to treatment of Uigur Muslims, to their theft of pathogens from labs in the West.

    5. No questions are asked about why we are seeing a continued steep rise in deaths in Europe in Italy and Spain, despite over a month of lockdowns...oh no, that would be against the core beliefs of the Lockdown Cult. For the avoidance of doubt, according to the believers of the Lockdown Cult, the number of cases and deaths should have been falling by now, in Italy and Spain - probably a week or two ago...there can, in theory, be no other outcome. It hasn't happened. But like some domesday cult that believes the Saviour is going to appear in the sky any moment, they keep predicting the flattening of the curve. Of course unlike a Saviour appearing in the sky, the flattening will occur...eventually...come what may, but you can be sure it will not have been achieved by the lockdown. That won't stop the Lockdown Cult taking the credit though.

    6. There is misdirection because, with the exception of South Korea, the report focusses on countries that have major outbreaks. If they showed the full range of countries, people would see (against a central belief of the Lockdown Cult) that the infection rate is hugely different between countries. I've still yet to see any explanation for why deaths per million are 4 in Greece and 192 in Italy. Croatia, next door to Italy has only 1 death per million! Ah yes...our incurious BBC...who see what they want to see.

    Be careful you aren't taken in by propaganda from the Lockdown Cult. Think for yourself.

    1. The higher deaths per million in Italy compared to Greece is partly a function of the higher numbers per million infected in Italy.

    2. The higher deaths per million in Italy compared to Greece is partly a function of the higher numbers per million infected in Italy.

    3. And why are there so many more infected in Italy, Northern Italy in particular?

  22. Have you noticed how many BBC people on TV and radio are broadcasting from home or self isolating?

    Being the touchy-feely liberal luvvies that most of them are, I suspect it is rampaging through the corporation because very few of them obeyed the rules until they were all struck down.

    1. Yes, I have noticed that Norman Smith seems to be standing in the corner of a room against an inexpensive looking closed door. Perhaps this is his study at home, and he doesn't want us to see his bookshelves lest we make judgements on his book collection.

      Or, if he was adjacent to a window, we might make judgements about his extensive lawned garden, or the view over some park or other, or possibly recognise the leafy suburbs where he lives.

      Beff's approach is to stand against an uninteresting wall at Sky HQ,
      whereas Laura K puts her nose close to her Macbook Pro so that we don't see her surroundings at all. I do notice that they all seem to use Macs - probably standard issue at the Beeb.

    2. Macs would be the most expensive, so yes, sounds like BBC issue! :)

      Surely Beff stands against an uninterestin' wall. She likes to ask question of the Pwime Mince but sadly he's currently indisposed.

  23. Back in 2015, RAI, Italian State broadcaster,raised concerns about China's experimentation with coronaviruses...

    Biological research is undertaken in Wuhan and this is a novel coronavirus, so it's perfectly reasonable to raise the possibility...and maybe ask some questions of the Chinese government.

  24. :::NEWSNIGHT:::

    Nick Watt doing his virtue signalling thing...whenever he mentions the death toll, goes into hand wringing. Not necessary - just give us the facts, man.

    He claims today's figure are "grim". But he isn't contextualising them. Every day in an average year about 1600 people per day (probably more at this time of year) die ...and - if you want to do some virtue signalling - each of those is a loved one for someone but they don't report it every day on Newsnight. But most importantly of those 381 a large proportion would be part of the 1600 whether or not we had this Coronavirus. The amount of excess mortality within a year that we are experiencing is entirely unclear.

    Maitlis uses the emotive word "tsunami" and paints a picture of hospitals unable to cope with the flood of patients. Worldometer states that we have 163
    serious or critical cases. 163. If we can't cope with that there's something seriously wrong.

    Maitlis asks some reasonable questions about testing. But she does so in such a sneering, mocking virtue-signalling manner that.

    An unusally interesting report from Dr Debs: a briefing doc from Public Health England. No reason why this document shouldn't be publicly available.

    In my view the Government and NHS have misled the whole country by emphasising the symptoms of cough and/or a fever. Cough and fever are only 2nd and 3rd in league table of symptoms. Millions will have assumed they didn't have CV when they did - and will have carried on going into work. I've raised this before - it was a criminally stupid policy. Even now I think they are still flashing up cough and fever as the "symptoms".

    Only about 800 people in intensive care in England (for all reasons). Was that with Covid 19? Not sure. We have something like 4400 critical care beds in England...

    Maitlis introduces an item from David Grossman. She is nakedly partisan, accusing Trump of lying, underplaying the crisis, politicising the crisis etc etc Her follow up interviews are also viscerally anti-Trump. Maitlis now lying. Claiming Trump said Covid 19 was a hoax - he never did. Claiming he said chloroquinine was a miracle cure. He didn't. Maitlis also calls for censorship of President Trump's statements. She gives the CNN ex journo easy ball questions.

    My takeaways:

    - Hating Trump is more important than beating CV19

    - We are nowhere near Critical Care capacity in the NHS despite Maitlis's attempts to suggest we are.

    - Newsnight very happy to be members of the Lockdown Cult.

    1. The Worldometer are not to be trusted. (Not their fault, I guess it's a case of having to rely on unreliable input figures.) For secveral weeks the UK's "Serious and Critical" case load stayed stubbornly at 20. It then lurched to 163 and has stayed there for the best part of a week. They are clearly not getting the information on a real-time basis.

    2. Have you got alternative figures?

      Worldometer takes time to catch up on data but it seems fairly accurate on case numbers and deaths...

      Remember Neil Ferguson said that there had been a slowing in hospital admissions. Of course not all hospital admissions are necessarily serious or critical. They may be people with asthma say who respond well to treatment.

      The vast majority of people known to have the disease now are going to be people in vital servies such as NHS and - being younger and relatively fit - will have a mild form of the disease.

      This Guardian news report dated 29 March refers to 775 people since the end of Feb having been in critical care with Coronavirus (never let us forget though, that that might just be one pathogen that has got a grip on them).

      775 would be consistent with a current figure of 163 currently in critical care.

      Whenever the spokespeople are asked about these figures they seem very evasive. We hear that hospital admissions are rising by about 1000 per day and are now over 9,000 per day. To put that in context,there are over 42,000 A&E admissions every day on average. A lot of the Coronavirus cases are elderly or vulnerable people near the end of life who would probably have been A&E admissions in any case (ie part of that 42,000 average).

      We don't know how many Coronavirus hospital admissions are discharged within 24 hours or what the average stay for recovered patients is.

  25. Fresh from Maitlis's display of Trump Derangement Syndrome on Newsnight, I saw quite a lot of Trump's press conference being broadcast live on Sky. You can see why Maitlis wants these press conferences to be censored, because he is lucid, competent, coherent, analytical, and has a complete grasp of the details. Moreover, his relations with some of his media bugbears seem to have become rather cordial...they ask some sensible questions and he responds in a respectful manner.

    Why does Maitlis keep foisting her Fake News "Guardian Cartoon" image of Trump on the Newsnight audience? Well we know why - she is pretty much guaranteed another RTS gong, which is all she cares about. But in order to get it she has to lie, lie, lie to camera.

    1. Trump gives the impression that he says what he thinks and that he might be thinking aloud. He also uses quite a small range of words.

      Contrast that with most politicians that hide what they think lest they be pounced upon by 'gotcha' bronzed strumpets and what they do say has probably been carefully scripted by someone else.

      Watching most politicians and media hacks is like watching a pack of 'Sir Humpreys', they aren't actually lying but they aren't telling the truth either. I imagine that Trump says to his officials, "Are we good or not good?", and if they say, "Not good" , he says, "Fix it!", no fancy language to hide behind!

      That's what a leader should be like!

    2. "He's doing a good job" as he might say himself! lol

  26. Not everyone at the LSE is barking mad...nice to hear some sense talked about lockdowns.

    Martin J. Bull I see is actually a Professor of Politics at the University of not sure why he's on the LSE blog but there you go...

    But at least he's not a member of the Lockdown Cult.

    He advocates the South Korean approach and on that I agree with him. Sadly, our incompetent government could never have implemented such a strategy based principally on the 3 Ts of testing, tracing and treating because they had undertaken no serious planning for a pandemic. Remember when you see the Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Scientific Officer, the NHS head, and the Public Health head on the podium, these are the people who FAILED to plan properly for a pandemic and who, rather than resign en masse in shame, are now trying to convince you lockdowns work.

  27. Over on the other channel, Pugnazious says:

    "I’ve looked at the ONS figures for deaths that have been registered and the figures show that deaths due to respiratory illness have been dropping off since January up until Mar 20th.[2,141 beginning of Jan, 2,477 following week, but only 1,514 by Mar 20th]"

    I've no reason to doubt the figures. January was a bad month for deaths - at a time when we weren't supposed to have any Covid19 cases in the UK. So wouldn't be surprised if we have improved since.

    None of this contextual stuff is ever to heard on our mainstream media - BBC, ITV, Sky, Global, our main newspapers etc. You only hear it on social media. That's why MSM can fairly be called Fake News.

  28. In reporting on the Coronavirus, a real news media would:

    (a) Focus on excess mortality. Are we experiencing excess mortality over say a 5 year average?

    (b) Would tell the public that most people who die "from" Covid-19 actually have a general systemic breakdown in their health and are infected with many other pathogens as well, which could equally be said to have killed them.

    (c) Would admit that the lockdowns are not working as intended. On balance they probably kill more people than a "herd immunity" approach.

    Of course, only an idiot would ever use the phrase "herd immunity" in public. I would call it a "protect the vulnerable" approach: encourage the elderly and people with serious underlying health conditions like diabetes or cancer to self-isolate and support them in their isolation. I mean really support them with free food and pharmaceutical deliveries and dedicated telephone help lines plus regular visiting for the most vulnerable.

    Let the rest of the population get on with life as normal, but encourage anyone with a virus symptom to self-isolate.

  29. +++ PLAGUE WATCH +++

    1. Straws in the wind...even on the Nicky Campbell programme on Radio 5 Live there were little hints from guests that not all is well within the Lockdown Cult. Some people carried along by it are now questioning it. The Telegraph seems openly sceptical.

    2. What was that Labour line..."ten days to save the NHS"? Something like that. I would say it's now a question of "ten days to save the UK economy". You can't have everything in life: the choice is there - either a slightly higher death toll from Coronavirus but your economy back up and running or a slightly lower death toll from Coronavirus (but higher from lots of other causes) AND your economy shattered, in ruins. The choice for me is obvious.

    Remember, no lockdown doesn't mean risking the lives of the elderly and vulnerable - they can still be strongly advised to stay at home and to socially isolate. We can still not have mass gatherings for sport, cinema or theatre for a few weeks. It should be a gradual programme of reopening over a month or so.

    3. Boris is obviously much more ill than we are being told.

    4. Lord Sumption's powerful intervention re misuse of Police powers and the threat to our constitutional liberties was well timed.

    5. I don't see anything wrong in the media (BBC and Mail Online are both to the fore) criticising the Government's very poor performance on testing. This is critical - it is vital to us getting out of Lockdown. I can't believe that the "chemical shortages" can't be resolved within this country. The chemical constituents of Reagents seem like common industrial chemicals and we do still have a chemical industry of sorts...are we really not able to use emergency powers to make it ourselves, requisitioning the chemical feedstocks from industry if necessary?

    1. MB on no.5 - Ineos is the leading specialist chemicals company in the world with sales of £45 billion a year. It is British should be able to support quickly but I don’t know if their plants that can produce those chemicals are based in the UK

    2. I spent almost all my working life within the UK Chemical Industry and I'm afraid to say that the Fine and Speciality Chemicals sectors, the companies you might have called on to make these reagents, were decimated in the period from 2000 and 2010. Most of the chemicals that used to be produced in the UK could be sourced at a fraction of the cost from China and India, and this whole sector of the UK chemical industry was effectively just swept away. (The closure of the plant where I worked in Castleford was described my our local MP as a sign of progress...) Ineos specialises in high volume bulk chemicals and markets them extremely well, but they are of little relevance to the current crisis.

    3. Sceptical Steve - when I looked at the chemical composition of Reagents, it seemed like they were made from fairly common we not have the scientific and technical know-how to put in place emergency manufacture? I think one manufacturer has already offered to step in.

    4. Yes. Charlie. Lambson. Did you deal with them?

    5. No, It wasn’t my line of business but I was aware of them - that’s all. I didn’t realise that most fine chemicals manufacturing had gone overseas. But I shouldn’t be surprised because so has the rest of our once world leading manufacturing. Everyone chases lowest price. Chickens are coming home to roost in so many ways during this crisis. Perhaps this is a wake up call.

    6. Looking back, there was an awful predictability about the process. First the Textile Industry and the Leather Industry (both major consumers of chemicals and dyestuffs etc.) left the country, and then it was our turn. It makes me wonder how confident the Banking Insurance and Financial Services industries are that they will be immune from the same process...

  30. Sky's own Beff has just announced that although the forthcoming Daily News Conference might wish to consider business matters, she for one will steer the questions away from business to PPE and testing. She couldn't care less about the ruination of SMEs. Her aim is purely to damage the Government.

    1. For some reason - perhaps it's the Coronavirus fever, I'm imagining her bringing out a children's picture book: "Beff's Day"...

      "Here is Beff wakin' up" (Scary hair and fright face)

      "Here is Beff doin' her hair" (Industrial strength straighteners at work)

      "Here is Beff puttin' her lipstick ON." (You get the misplaced emphasis?)

      "Here is Beff goin' to work." (Chauffeur-driven car picks her up. She's quaffing champagne in the back)

      "Here is Beff makin' up her questions for the Guvment." (We see her reading the Guardian comments page.)

      "Here is Beff takin' to task the Guvment." (Big speech bubble with an interminable question in small print full of subsidiary clauses.)

      "Here is the Guvment lookin' embarrassed." (Boris blushing)

      "Here is Beff bein' celebrated by everyone in the media." (Beff being cheered by her colleagues and rivals).

      THE END

    2. I suppose in another guise she might be an angel on the frontline.

  31. Guido has the BBC's response to funding. All 40 pages of their proposal is on

    1. Are they having a laff? That’s just another regressive tax on every household. They capture businesses as well with a broadband tax. That means the local shop with broadband for their till and payment system pays a tax, then they pay it again for their home broadband. Or people who don’t even own a tv but use a pc now pay the tax

    2. It's the BBC's "cunning plan" - after a few years people won't even realise that it's a BBC doubt they'd like it called the Communications Levy or some such, with them responsible for policing the internet.

  32. Matt Baker left the The One Show yesterday for good. Look who is standing in - yes, it’s Amol Rajan - the BBC jack of all trades who appears on just about everything. And horror - he is wearing no socks!

    I just can’t understand why he is so over-exposed by the BBC on TV and radio. It’s clearly not talent or intellect, maybe he is just pushy and confident and ticks the right boxes.

    1. A lack of confidence is not something Rajan has ever been accused of.

      Poor editorial instincts and a tendency to follow the PC herd are things he has been accused me, if no one else!

      Maybe he uses the old trick: "Sorry - but why don't you think I would be good at this job...? Can you explain?" That would be enough to turn over a lot of weak-willed BBC producers fearful of the R charge. Rajan only has to leak something to an Indy or Guardian mate and their career could be toast.

    2. It’s clearly not talent or intellect ... No it isn't - intellect anyway. On Celebrity Mastermind and Richard Osman's House of Games he scored very poorly. What made it worse on ROHoG, he delighted in having no Knowledge of English history.

  33. Make of it what you will, but there was no excess mortality in Week 12 (which I think is up to 19 March)...

    As the ONS say: "Seasonal mortality is seen each year in England and Wales, with a higher number of deaths in winter months compared to the summer. Additionally, peaks of mortality above this expected higher level typically occur in winter, most commonly the result of factors such as cold snaps and increased circulation of respiratory viruses, in particular influenzaand in summer occasionally as a result of heat-waves."

    It will be interesting to see how excess mortality rises as the deaths ascribed to Coronavirus have a greaster effect on the stats.

  34. So we haven't seen Boris for how long? I'm guessing he's pretty ill...odd no one in the media is asking how he's doing...or did I miss something?

    1. I’m sure he was shown on the cabinet zoom conference yesterday?

    2. True there was a pic of part of the Zoom montage...about 3 mm wide on a normal computer screen. I've attended a meeting with a serious lung infection before now! Doesn't mean you don't feel like death.

    3. I see Anonymous below has confirmed what Mrs Brains told me after I posted the above...

  35. Boris seen on tape this evening from lockdown; he looked truly awful and very ill indeed. Of all the important people hit with the virus so far, he seems to have fared the worst. There is no way he should be out of self isolation by Friday given the state of him. I feel very sorry for him.

  36. The Lockdown Cult tries to present things as though the choice is between (a) a lot of people dying from Coronavirus without a Lockdown and (b) fewer people dying from Coronavirus with a Lockdown.

    There is no evidence from anywhere that death rates per million have been better in countries with severe lockdowns than countries without severe lockdowns. Absolutely none.

    But this is in any case a false choice. Most of the deaths of people "from" CV would happen very shortly in any case. The impact in terms of excess mortality will be far less dramatic than the raw death figures suggest.

    Moreove, Lockdowns definitely cause death themselves. Failure to present symptoms to a GP, cancelled hospital appointments and cancelled ops will all have dire consequences as will lack of exercise, social isolation, depression and lack of sunlight.

    Lockdowns also kill prosperity, the foundation of our health services. With continued lockdowns we could be losing 30-40% of our GDP. The long term outlook for our economy would be dire, especially as other nations have also destroyed their economies with lockdowns - so suppressing world demand.

    As well as mass bankruptcies, huge unemployment rates and declining production, we could yet see renewed banking failures, countries defaulting on loans and strong inflationary pressure (a return to the stagflation of the 70s).

    Meanwhile we have done incredible damage to our political culture. These last few weeks we have been inculcating the habits of mass servitude, more akin to the lot of the Chinese peasant than the free Briton.

    We may never recover fully from this loss of liberty coming as it does after years of PC ideology chipping away at the principles of free speech, free association and fair electoral practice.

  37. This begs the question of why the BBC, Sky and ITV have all been reporting the Chinese government Coronavirus figures as genuine:

    As the least they should always be given with a health warning: "China is a totalitarian country and so we can have no idea whether these figures are true or not."

  38. Interesting interview with Starkey:

    Not sure I entirely agree with him on Rousseau and the French Revolution but still great to hear intelligent conversation.

  39. With endless hours to fill, wouldn't it be a refreshing change if the BBC invited real experts on matters such as housing, climate change etc to deliver lectures during which the speakers were left to develop their cases without interruption? I wouldn't object to listening to views that I do not share if their case was put coherently and at length. The audience would be left free to make up their own minds based purely on the strength of the case. It wouldn't matter if the lecture went on all day - time is something we all have plenty of at present.

    1. Well there are all those TEDx talks on YouTube and the interviews on The New Culture Forum and The Sun interviews by Paul Edginton give the interviewee plenty of space.

      The BBC has spent many decades telling 'experts' and politicians what they think is the 'acceptable' viewpoint, they won't want to give that power up now!

    2. We might hope for something more exhilarating than fitness videos or group sing-songs. The BBC should be judged as to their response to vacuous content and empty airwaves.

    3. There's so much on You Tube (entertainment, art,music of all forms, lectures, programmes on history, archaeology,science, engineering) don't really need anything else. But I don't have a set up where I can watch it on TV. I am too technologically lazy to get that sorted.

      I'd recommend Indy Nidell's WW2 weekly installments (with additional themed programmes). Also Stefan Milo's historical overviews. PBS Eons has some good stuff.

      The big gap I guess is up to the minute news and analysis. For the USA, there is Fox News, which gives a much more balanced view of American politics than the BBC, Sky or ITV. We have nothing like that. Sky News Australia is similar and does sometimes cover UK politics, but there isn't that in depth coverage. If only someone could produce something for You Tube...

      Ideally, I'd have Brendan O'Neill, Rod Liddle and Peter Whittle get together to produce an alternative to the BBC and MSM news coverage and analysis.

  40. Latest summary of likely Lockdown periods for the remainder of the year .
    Click on graphic which says summary of findings, the text explains the graphic.

    1. I really question those figures/graphs for the following reasons:

      1. We know that countries that have not had full lockdowns - e.g. Taiwan, S Korea, Japan and Sweden have not followed the non-lockdown graph. Reasons are given for this: testing and tracing for instance. But with such an infectious disease (one person could theoretically infect 50,000 people), one that has many asymptomatic or mild symptom cases I can't see how testing and tracing can really be that effective.

      2. We know that most lockdowns aren't anywhere near 100% lockdowns. Ours is probably only something like 80% in terms of working population. I saw construction workers today not keeping the recommended social distance - and that is true obviously of lots of workplaces. Then people still have to mix to some extent in shops, using communal scanning and payment equipment that is not wiped down after use.

      3. The countries with severe lockdowns have seen continued rapid rises in cases and ICU requirements even after 10-14 days of lockdown. Why?

      4. Why have some countries or regions (like Northern Italy) had huge outbreaks whereas others (like Greece) have had only a very low-level outbreak?

      5. Why would it not be just as effective to have a strong recommendation or even a law requiring elderly and vulnerable persons to socially isolate, with paid-for food deliveries and so on while the younger, working population got on with business? You could also bolster that with a strong recommendation for anyone with cold or flu symptoms to self-isolate and a legal requirement for employers to send home anyone displaying such symptoms.

      Yes, a lot of the workforce would fall ill but the vast majority will have a mild form of the disease.

      In my view that approach would be just as, and probably more, effective than lockdowns.

    2. On balance, on no.5 I’m with you MB.

      The problem is that the entire establishment and MSM seem to have aligned fully behind lockdown and are allowing no debate about alternatives and the economic fallout.

      It’s interesting (or maybe concerning) to observe how the deep state, the government machine and the police have responded to the call. Perhaps it’s in the nations psyche to follow rules, orders and instructions.

      I’m assuming that around 50% of the workforce, those working in the public sector will suffer no financial hardship and will continue to get full pay. Add in a further 10%-20% for MSM, essential services , food production and sales, supply chain etc. So probably in the region of 70% are seeing no effect on their wages...yet.

      The longer it goes on the harder it will be to enforce though. As financial hardship increases and more business go under, those in the private sector will fuel the disquiet about it continuing.

    3. Only 16.5% of the workforce are employed by public sector institutions. There's been a lot of privatisation! A lot of people will be working in the public sector but employed by private companies. How they will be affected I do not know, if they cannot operate their services. I guess the companies will claim force majeure clauses apply. I am sure the lawyers will do well out of it!

      A lot of PAYE employees are already sitting at home on 80% of pay, supplied by the Government. This is "OK" (just devastating to public finances, but not yet catastophic) if it goes on for a couple of months, but there is simply no way it can be sustained. You can't have a no production economy - that means you have pretend money that can't buy anything.

  41. BBC website live feed on Coronavirus is pathetic. They don't give the daily total for deaths for the UK. They give the total number of deaths. Then they break it down for the four nations. But if you want to know the UK total you have to add or subtract the figures yourself.

    1. All part of their plan to break up the UK. Are they comparing like with like? Er, NO! - population of Scotland: 5.438 million; population of Wales: 3.139 million; population of Northern Ireland 1.882 million; population of England: 55.98 million.

  42. Well who'd a thunk it? A feud in academia: Oxford's Sunetra Gupta: “I am surprised there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model.”Neil Ferguson...said of the Oxford study: “We don’t think [the model] is consistent with observed data”.

    And behind that, the reported feud: '... in 2000, Imperial poached 80 scientists from Oxford, including a professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology called Roy Anderson. He brought Ferguson with him....'
    Anderson 'had resigned his post after admitting he falsely accused a colleague [Gupta] of having a relationship with a professor to help her land a job. ...'


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